Breathalysers – should you test yourself?


With Christmas behind us for another year, it’s stark reading that despite the changes in the drink driving law, arrests for drink driving crept up again by 10 per cent in the past festive period.

The change in the drink driving law in late October 2018 saw arrests down 14 per cent that Christmas (695) from the 2017 figures (812), but Christmas 2019 saw over 760 arrests for driving under the influence.

Many drivers get behind the wheel the ‘morning after’, unwittingly over the legal blood-alcohol limit. Interestingly, the RSA figures showing that one in ten drink-driving arrests occur between 8am and 2pm with a peak on Sundays.

Alcosense Laboratories says that one of the only way to ensure you’re clear to drive the next morning is to use a personal breathalyser.

It claims that If you drink four pints of medium-strong beer or four large glasses of wine, it could take as long as 14 hours for the alcohol to clear your system. If you drink between 9pm and 11pm, you may not be sober until 11am the following morning. Of course they’re are many variables.

In addition to the amount and strength of the alcohol, please remember that the legal drink drive limit cannot be safely converted into a certain number of units, as it depends on a number of factors such as gender, body mass and how quickly your body absorbs alcohol etc.

With alcohol said to be a factor in 38 per cent of fatal crashes in Ireland, studies show that if you drive while at the Irish limit, you are five times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than when sober.

Digital personal breathalysers enable drivers to make an informed decision about when alcohol has cleared from their system, avoiding potentially fatal guesswork.

The AlcoSense Lite 2 brings increased levels of reliability and precision thanks to an upgraded sensor, sampling system and simplified operation. Using the company’s latest semi-conductor sensor technology, it boasts an industry-leading accuracy in this price bracket of +/-0.20 per cent BAC.

It has an adjustable warning system that features a ‘Don’t Drive’ alert, both on screen and audibly. All you need for a reading is to turn the unit on, wait for it to count down to zero, then blow until it beeps (about 6 seconds).

Sleekly designed in striking white, the pocket-sized AlcoSense Lite 2 is available priced at €53.99 available from selected retailers or online at www.alcosense.ie.

The company also offers a range of single use and electronic breathalysers which it claims will give you clear results in seconds.

The new Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit is 50 milligrams (mg) for all drivers, and 20mg for specified drivers, defined as learner or newly qualified drivers (for a period of two years after passing their driving test) or professional drivers (of buses, goods vehicles and public service vehicles).

I haven’t used a digital personal breathalyser but it seems to me that for awareness alone, they seem like a great idea for self-testing on the day after.

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